Pioli and Company's 1st round pick history glaringly tells us all that future Chiefs first round picks will start and/or contribute day one. It also tells us that his first picks, on a rough average go into the next two seasons starting around 12 games.
Our coaching staff will make all the difference imo. Our coaches seem to know their responsibilities through orderly, systematic ways. With that said, I believe our coaching won't fail our youngsters, in return our young players will contribute early and often as a result.
With our 10-6 team now having later picks in all rounds it may be simpler to seek a trend of the previous Pioli Patriot way. As I've attempted to mind-read Pioli, this is what I've envisioned. I can truly see Pioli trying to replace those great players that brought him the success he had at New England. But what's also glaring is we have many of those pieces right now...kinda.
I'll now compare Patriot greats during Pioli's time, to our starting squad. This could tell us a lot about where Pioli will go in the draft or free agency. Or, it won't.
This is how it works. Chiefs are compared then graded by level of comparison to NE's all-star player. More than likely, this will tell all of us the important areas Pioli may lean this year in the draft and the 'question-marked free agency.' Everyone knows our needs, but let us try and look through the eyeglasses of the mysterious and enigmatic, Scott Pioli.
Please note: All Patriots listed are graded A, they're ALL greats from Pioli & Company's dynasty years.
•••[A] Eric Berry = Rodney Harrison•••
Yes, that just said Eric Berry is equal to future hall of famer, Rodney Harrison. Harrison even admitted himself that Berry will be better than he was. I'm grinning lobe to lobe seeing that we have a player that can step in the shoes of an all-time Pioli and Company great like Harrison.
•••[A] Brandon Flowers = Asante Samuel•••
Asante Samuel is a Top 50 cornerback in NFL history. Brandon Flowers is too , IMO. Asante's another one of Pioli's early studs that we have covered with our very own Brandon Flowers. Not a top priority this offseason imo, but depth there would suffice. I'll get into depth here a little later.
•••[A] Glenn Dorsey = Ty Warren•••
Replacing Richard Seymour is nearly impossible, but replacing Ty Warren isn't so hard when you already have Glenn Dorsey. Dorsey continues to improve and get comfortable. He will imminently make strides in his '2nd year under Romeo.'
•••[B] Derrick Johnson < Tedy Bruschi•••
Derrick Johnson broke out this season and led all linebackers with 15 passes defended. Tedy's numbers won't blow you away, but he was, without question, a great leader and piece on the Patriots defense for a long time.
•••[B] Brandon Carr < Ty Law•••
Not many players in the NFL have owned Peyton Manning. Ty Law has. I gave Carr a B rating, remembering he's not great in comparison to NE defensive backs from the dynasty squad, yet.
•••[A] Tamba Hali > Willie McGinest•••
There is zero doubt, that our Chiefs already have a Willie McGinest in Tamba. I do believe Pioli wants another monster on the other side bringin' it. Look for a pass rushing specialist to be brought in early(Rds 3-4).
•••[D-] Sr. Mike Vrabel < Mike Vrabel•••
We may still have that leader in the middle, in Vrabel, but our Vrabel is now old and slow. We need a super cerebral, nasty, tough as nails linebacker to lead this defense, much like the Vrabel of old did for Pioli and Company. IMO, this is on top of Pioli's long priority list, not far behind, pass rush, def backfield depth, and offensive line.
•••[F] Vince Wilfork > All the rest•••
Another high priority, Pioli and fans know is a key piece missing from his solved dynasty puzzle in New England. Don't be surprised (and I know you won't be) if we go heavy front seven in the draft, with nose tackle likely to come first. A VW presence would automatically take our defense from good to really fuckin' good. No secrets here.
•••[B-] Tyson Jackson < Ty Warren•••
This is yet another piece that isn't quite there. Jackson's made leaps, not bounds, and is still miles away from being on the level of NE defensive linemen from the dynasty years. Again, Pioli will solidify our d-line before most other needs. He knows Tyson Jackson isn't a Ty Warren presence yet. A B- rating should only get better and better for Tyson. After all, he's Pioli's 1st Chief pick, and oh how it was SOOO sexy.
•••[B+] Kendrick Lewis < Eugene Wilson•••
Kendrick Lewis showed us all why he was drafted last year. He's a born leader that eventually will take the place of a great NE piece, like Eugene Wilson. Early on this season we felt his presence gone after suffering injury. When Kendrick wasn't there we would lose. Coincidence or not, Kendrick is a tough, extremely smart football player.
•••[F] Lawyer Milloy > All the rest•••
New England's defensive back dominance over the years is staggering, letting us all know Pioli won't shy from bringing in even more studs sooner rather than later. Look for the smart d-backs throughout the Top 100 mocks and don't be shocked when one of em's bleedin' red in 2011.
Now we have seen Pioli's key pieces on defense throughout their dominance and it seems we've done quite well in comparison. Although, we have fallen far shy of a complete dynasty NE defense. This shouldn't discourage any, it should hint all of us as to where Pioli will take this team beyond this season in search of championships. Let's take a look at our offense. Thank goodness Pioli already has his Tom Brady....Hardly :)
•••[B-] Matt Cassel < Tom Brady•••
The potential greatest ever at the quarterback position in Tom Brady will forever shadow our very own Matt Cassel. I do potentially see Pioli surprising us all by bringing in a QB this draft earlier than expected. Above all positions, this is the biggest piece missing from Pioli's success at New England.
•••[A-] Dwayne Bowe < Randy Moss•••
He's barely less, but less. Dwayne Bowe just needs to understand the game like Randy does in order to become one of the elite. FINALLY, after some maturity we've seen the hard work then dominance come from Bowe. He understands now it's all up to him how great he will be, and that's why we nearly have our Randy Moss here in KC.
•••[C] Dexter McCluster < Wes Welker•••
DMC is special. How special? Not as special as Wes Welker. I have no doubt he was brought in with great confidence from Pioli last year and will prove to us all it was the right choice. Another offseason under his belt, and no high ankle sprain will bring a shocker season from McCluster. With that said, Pioli won't hesitate to bring in more talent. Titus Young is a popular choice for many from Boise State, said to be DeSean Jackson-like with sure hands and toughness. I'd be happy to take both of their receivers in the draft.
•••[A] Thomas Jones > Correy Dillon•••
•••[A] Jamaal Charles > Kevin Faulk•••
Runningback won't be addressed this season until possibly very late in the draft. Pioli knows we already have the best runningback and best leader taking all the carries. There's no question teams will be out to stop our run with vengeance next season, so once again look for more meat up front. Or, surely Pioli will at least draft a kick-ass blocking, giant tight end.
•••[F] Deion Branch > All the rest•••
•••[F] Troy Brown > All the rest•••
Wide receiver depth is important to any team nowadays, we know this. But, is Pioli going to grant us some? Yes, he will. After seeing Bowe get shut down in the playoffs Pioli should know well we need better receivers around Bowe. This is another top priority on our agenda, so look out for a Titus Young type of player, like I said above.
All low grades I've given to our player comparisons above will be areas Pioli is missing from his dynasty teams with the Patriots. He's looking to his formula, possibly realizing the following:
All the grade Fs given out immediately tells us we can't fix everything this offseason. At this point, one, and only one of the Fs below can and will be addressed completely this offseason. Choose which F you want to take care of this year.
- Replace Vince Wilfork with two studs early(1-4) if available in the draft. If not, grab multiple young d-linemen in free agency/late in draft. Seems like a no brainer I know, but there's a high possibility he sees this as a BIG hole, bigger than Vince himself. This would make our draft potentially defense heavy. Fine by me.
- Lawyer Milloy missing can be addressed similarly to last years draft. If we draft three d-backs again this year we can have that dynasty defensive backfield. Hell, as I see we're not far from it, yet we saw the consequences of lacking depth this season. Pioli sees in order to shut down and shut up whiners like Pee Rivers and dominate teams through turnovers we need this. Give us any pressure coming from up front, and we would be SCARY if Pioli really went this way again. Again, fine by me.
- If Deion Branch and Troy Brown played for the Chiefs next year, healthy and young, without question we'd be a force through the air. This would take maybe three or four good additions this offseason. It's no secret Pioli has had offense happy drafts in the past. Or what about this: Could you imagine drafting two wide-receivers in the first three rounds? I could. On top of that snag a FA receiver. There are many other needs, but why not set our WR core for the future? The earlier Cassel has them, the faster we'll see him improve. Cassel has more confidence than ever going into this next year after a stellar season and making the pro-bowl.
To clarify, one of these F grades can be completely erased by heavily going after it THIS year. Choose yours. Most of all, I want more of a pass rush. I want more pressure on the QB, on other sides.
Nearly an F grade but Vrabel still provides leadership, guidance, and toughness. Many of you want linebacker(s) early, and it could very well happen. Pioli knows how important Vrabel-esque players are. Again, to replace the irreplaceable Vrabel we'll need to move heavily on smart, fast, and strong linebackers. There are some possible gems out there, and we'd need a couple of them. I'd agree with those that say our early picks won't be linebackers, but don't be shocked when Pioli wants some ol' Vrabel football players now. With that said, IMO one of the three Fs above make more sense.
Again, we may have reached for DMC but I'm not giving up on him. Nowadays it seems NE has many little tough guys that get it done through the air, and Pioli could trend that way after picking up Dex early last year. Big play ability is very important in this league and the more Dexter McClusters we have, the better. This would also allow Arenas more time to concentrate solely on the defense.
Above, B grades were given to very good players, yet Pioli still doesn't see them as dynasty pieces, nor do I. A QB drafted early-ish shouldn't shock anyone. Cassel remains to have a big question mark above his head. It will remain there until he wins big games, beats good teams consistently and steps up to the stage, that quite frankly, right now, looks too big. C'mon Cassel, keep improving, stop looking soft at times!
All A grades can, and may get addressed. Positions on the field need depth, and this could automatically provide it. I wouldn't be upset if we drafted all 'front seven'. Would you? I don't think so.
Hopefully recognizing all of the stars Scott Pioli had with New England will tell us all something, if anything. His brain is engrained with these core players that dominated for him at New England for years. He wants them again. I know it. So do I.
Note: I have a feeling everyone may key on balance. A balanced draft would be fantastic, but let's try and pick a low grade above to solve this offseason, entirely. Your thoughts?